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Afghan Officials Display Suicide Bomb Suspect - 2002-08-08


The Afghan government puts an al-Qaida terror suspect and his bomb-laden car on display for the news media.

Security officials said (Thursday) the suspect -- who is still unidentified -- had admitted to being a member of al-Qaida and had planned to use the car in a suicide attack against either Afghan President Hamid Karzai, his cabinet members or an embassy.

They said the man was captured in Kabul after he got involved in a traffic accident in the car -- which was loaded with 400 kilograms of explosives.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Abdullah told reporters in Kabul that 13 attackers killed in a gunbattle outside of the capital on Wednesday were al-Qaida members who had escaped from prison.

He said 12 of the men were from Pakistan and one was from Kyrgyzstan. Mr. Abdullah said the firefight -- the worst in the area in months -- erupted after Afghan security forces tracked down the men south of Kabul. Three of the al-Qaida fighters blew themselves up to avoid capture.

Also Thursday, the U-S military said an American soldier is in stable condition after being wounded by sniper fire on Wednesday in eastern Afghanistan . A spokesman (Colonel Roger King) at Bagram air base said the attack occurred in Paktika province as U-S troops patrolled the area. He said the wounded soldier has been evacuated to a hospital in Germany.

Earlier this week (on Monday and Tuesday), U-S soldiers came under fire in neighboring Kunar province. They shot and killed six attackers.

U-S military officials have reported an increase in attacks against reconnaissance patrols in regions near the Pakistani border. But a top U-S military official visiting Afghanistan has played down the possibility of an upsurge in combat activity by remaining al-Qaida and Taleban fighters.

Marine Corps General Peter Pace -- the vice chairman of the U-S Joint Chiefs of Staff -- said Afghanistan is making progress toward stability and peace for its people. But he cautioned the environment still is very dangerous for U-S military operations.

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